Getting around town with an electric vehicle

Sudbury artist and teacher Jennifer Holub gets around in a used plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.  She shares her EV experience.

Used EV

I bought a PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle) primarily to reduce my fossil fuel consumption. The other bonus is that I have saved thousands of dollars in gas and it is a very silent ride. 

I couldn’t afford a new EV, so the pre-owned version was within my price range. I had to travel to Guelph to get it, but it was well-worth it.

My partner and I had been researching EVs for a while, and the Volt had a great reputation as an option.

I found the listing on Auto Trader’s website and called the dealership in Guelph. Using the VIN number I got from them, I called the Chevrolet dealership where it was sold to access the maintenance history of the car to see if there was anything troubling, which there wasn’t. While the used-car dealership did their own certification, I also had it sent over to the original Chevrolet dealership that sold the car to do a complete system diagnostic. Before I purchased the vehicle, I made contact with SouthSide Chevrolet in Sudbury who assured me they would be able to service the vehicle in the future.

I took advantage of the Used EV Incentive through the EV Discovery Centre. We had to attend a 1-hour seminar at the Discovery centre and do a quick test-drive, and within a week I was mailed a check for $1000, after providing my proof of purchase and insurance.

In the warmer seasons, my used EV plug-in has an 87 km range so it more than covers me for drives to work and errands that I run afterwards. Since I’ve purchased it, I have made three out-of-town trips where I have had to use the gas tank once the EV range ran out. Not all EV or EV plug-ins have the ability to “quick charge” for longer distances, so look into that before purchasing if you are expecting something to take you on longer trips. My Chevrolet Volt Premier is a commuter car primarily and is not designed to be relied upon for all electric long voyages.

In the coldest days of winter my battery gave me a 50km range. For this particular plug-in model, the car is designed to use some gas to warm up the car so that it is not completely depleting the battery to simply warm up the car. If I remotely start the vehicle while it is still plugged in in my driveway, then it draws the electricity from the house to warm up the vehicle which means it does not use a lot of gas to do so.

If you are charging at off-peak hours it is not very expensive to charge. We have not noticed a significant raise in our electricity bill. We estimate that if I needed to charge it in full every day (which I don’t because I only use about 30-40% of my range each day) it would cost $1 per day or $30 per month in electricity.